NAKAMURA KICHIEMON II

Stage names:

Nakamura Kichiemon II In Japanese
Nakamura Mannosuke In Japanese

Real name: Namino Tatsujir˘

Pen name: Matsu Kanshi II

Guild: Harimaya

Line number: NIDAIME (II)

Birthday: 22 May 1944

Connections:

Great-great-grandfather: Nakamura Karoku I

Great-grandfather: Nakamura Karoku III

Grandfathers: Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VII, Nakamura Kichiemon I

Father: Matsumoto Haku˘ (K˘shir˘ VIII)

Adoptive father: Nakamura Kichiemon I

Brother: Matsumoto K˘shir˘ IX

Career:

June 1948: he makes his first appearance on stage at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘, receiving the name of Nakamura Mannosuke.

July 1953: revival at the Meijiza of Kawatake Shinshichi III's 1878 drama "Tsűzoku Saiyűki"; Mannosuke plays the role of Kinkan [casting].

September 1954: his grandfather (and adoptive father) Nakamura Kichiemon I dies.

January 1961: Mannosuke and his brother Ichikawa Somegor˘ VI sign exclusive contracts with the T˘h˘ and leave the Sh˘chiku, followed in March by Matsumoto K˘shir˘ VIII, Ichikawa Chűsha VIII and Nakamura Shikaku II.

July 1963: revival at the Yomiuri Hall in T˘ky˘ of Namiki Sh˘z˘ I's drama "Kuwanaya Tokuz˘ Irifune Monogatari"; Mannosuke plays the role of Takamaru Kamejir˘ [casting].

May 1965: Nakamura Mannosuke takes the name of Nakamura Kichiemon II at the Imperial Theater, playing the roles of Konoshita T˘kichi and Munesada in the dramas "Kinkakuji" and "Seki no To".

December 1966: second month of the opening ceremony of the National Theatre with the full length performance of the classic "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami"; Kichiemon plays the role of Ume˘maru [casting].

February 1967: premiere at the Kabukiza of Hagiwara Yukio's dance-drama "Dattan"; Kichiemon plays the role of a rengy˘shű [casting].

September 1970: Kichiemon plays for the first time the role of Kumagai Naozane in the play "Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki" (commonly called "Kumagai Jin'ya"), which is performed at the Imperial Theater.

1972: Kichiemon goes back to Sh˘chiku, after the failure of T˘h˘ Kabuki.

June 1973: revival at the National Theatre of Tsuruya Nanboku IV and Sakurada Jisuke II drama "Kokoro no Nazo Toketa Iroito"; Kichiemon plays the role of Honj˘ Tsunagor˘ [casting].

August 1979: revival at the National Theatre Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kanzen Ch˘aku Nozoki Garakuri"; Kichiemon plays the roles of Murai Ch˘an and the Iseya bant˘ Kyűhachi [casting].

January 1980: Kichiemon takes part in the first Kabuki performances at the Asakusa K˘kaid˘ [more details].

June ~ July 1990: Kichiemon takes part in a Kabuki tour in the USA, performing 26 shows in several big cities; he plays the roles of Narukami and Tamanoi in the plays "Narukami" and "Migawari Zazen" [casting]. Kichiemon plays also the role of Musashib˘ Benkei in the play "Kanjinch˘", which is performed only in Los Angeles.

September 1999: Kichiemon plays for the first time the role of the larger-than-life king of thieves Ishikawa Goemon in the rare jidaimono "Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe", which is staged at the Kabukiza.

October 1999: premiere at the Kanamaruza of "Tomoe Gozen", a dance created by Matsu Kanshi II (alias Kichiemon).

January 2001: Kichiemon plays at the National Theatre the role of Sodehagi, one of the most difficult female roles in the Kabuki repertoire, in the drama "ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara". Kichiemon successfully overcomes this great challenge.

April 2001: Kichiemon plays for the first time the prestigious and visual role of Taira no Tomomori in the jidaimono "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura", which is staged at the Kabukiza.

October 2001: Kichiemon plays for the first time the role of the wicked Motoemon in the drama "Tengajaya-mura", which is staged at the National Theatre.

15 December 2002: Kichiemon joins the prestigious Japan Art Academy (Nihon Geijutsuin).

April 2003: Kichiemon plays for the first time the role of Wat˘nai in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's masterpiece "Kokusen'ya Gassen", which is staged at the Kabukiza.

September 2003: the Kabukiza commemorates the 49th anniversary (50th memorial service) of the death of his grandfather Nakamura Kichiemon I; Kichiemon plays 2 of his adoptive father's favourite roles, K˘chiyama S˘shun in "K˘chiyama" and Shunkan in "Heike Nyogo no Shima".

May 2006: Kichiemon plays at the Shinbashi Enbuj˘ the roles of Danshichi Kurobŕ, Ishikawa Goemon and Beniya Ch˘bŕ in the dramas "Natsu Matsuri", "Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe" and "Sh˘chikubai Yushima no Kakegaku".

January 2007: Kichiemon receives the 48th Mainichi Performing Arts Awards (2006) and the Special Award of the 6th Asahi Performing Arts Awards (2006).

July 2011: Kichiemon receives the prestigious title of Living National Treasure (Ningen Kokuh˘ in Japanese).

November 2014: the Annual Festive Face-Showing Grand Kabuki at the Kabukiza commemorates the 32nd anniversary (33rd memorial service) of the passing away of Matsumoto Haku˘. His two sons, Matsumoto K˘shir˘ and Kichiemon, are the zagashira [more details].

December 2014: "Igagoe D˘chű Sugoroku" is staged as a t˘shi ky˘gen (5 acts, 6 scenes), including the rarely-staged "Fujikawa Shinseki" and "Okazaki Yamada K˘bŕ Sumika" acts (they were staged for the last time more than 44 years ago, in September 1970 at the National Theatre), at the National Theatre with Kichiemon as zagashira; he plays the role of Karaki Masaemon [more details].

November 2015: revival at the National Theatre of the drama "Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi" (t˘shi ky˘gen in 4 acts); Kichiemon plays the role of Yura Hy˘gonosuke Nobutada [more details|casting].

Comments:

Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon II is an amazing tachiyaku and one of the most popular contemporary actors.

"He specializes in the male heroes of jidaimono, the historical plays, and the role of commoner in sewamono, Edo-period dramas. He is especially popular because of his ability to depict the warmth and humanity of these characters. Another role with which he is closely associated is one that he played for ten years in the TV series "Onihei Hankach˘". He played Hasegawa Heiz˘, a government law enforcement officer who is partial to alcohol and has a soft spot for criminals, unless they are murderers. Kichiemon himself admits to feeling a special fondness for this role." (from an article written by Jean Wilson for the website Metropolis)

Nakamura Kichiemon II's best roles : K˘chiyama S˘shun ("K˘chiyama"), Kumagai Jir˘ Naozane ("Kumagai Jin'ya"), the boatman Matsuemon/Higuchi Jir˘ Kanemitsu ("Hirakana Seisuiki"), Matsu˘maru ("Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami").

Nakamura Kichiemon II playing the role of Kajiwara Heiz˘ Kagetoki the drama "Ishikiri Kajiwara" (print made by Yamamoto Hisashi)

Prints & Illustrations

Print made by Tsuruya K˘kei in 1988

The Nakamura Kichiemon line of actors

 
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